The Obama Administration announced yesterday that it will expand the Central American Minors program that was first established as a response to the 2014 border surge. The program looks to resettle unaccompanied alien children to the United States directly from their home countries in an attempt to discourage them from traveling though Mexico and crossing the border illegally.
Currently, the program allows children under 21 with at least one parent in the U.S. legally to apply for refugee status even if they don't meet the federal and international definition of a refugee. The expansion will allow a siblings, caregivers, or other parents to also seek resettlement in the U.S.
While the expansion is supposed to help those fleeing the violence in the Central American region, a recent Center of Immigration Studies analysis of a Honduran survey shows that violence has decreased in the region and that safety plays a small role in a person’s decision to come to the U.S.
Guatemalan government officials have rejected the idea that people leaving their country should be classified as refugees.
A DHS intelligence report, however, showed that nearly 60% of the family units apprehended and interviewed by Customs and Border Protection agents said that the Obama administration’s lax immigration enforcement policies influenced their decision to come to the U.S.
Last year a federal judge ruled that certain illegal-alien families and alien minors must be quickly processed and released, due to the Flores-agreement signed in 1997.
Updated: Wed, Aug 10th 2016 @ 9:50am EDT